Gibson, Violet – anti-Fascist

This plaque commemorates Violet Gibson, the Irish woman who shot Mussolini

The Honourable Violet Albina Gibson was born in Dalkey in 1876 into a wealthy Anglo-Irish family and raised in Merrion Square. She received her title at age nine when her father was made the Lord Ashbourne and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Educated at home by governesses, she was a debutante at the court of Queen Victoria, and lived a very privileged life regularly appearing in the society columns, at balls, concerts in London and Dublin, social events at Buckingham Palace, family holidays in France and Italy, and skiing in San Moritz.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

At the age of twenty one, she received an independent income from her father and decided to pave her own path in life. She travelled extensively pursuing her interest in religion, politics and philosophy. Her conversion to Catholicism caused much upset in her family. She moved to London, rejecting and freeing herself from the conventions of her privileged background.

On April 7th 1926, three years into Benito Mussolini’s fascist rule of Italy, Violet Gibson drew a pistol and shot Mussolini at point blank range in front of an adoring crowd in the Campidiglio Rome. Mussolini’s head turned as she did so, and the bullet grazed his nose. She fired again, but the gun jammed.

Following her attempt on Mussolini’s life, Violet Gibson was placed in an asylum in England where she was kept with little or no contact with the outside world. She died in the asylum in 1956.

For more information about Violet Gibson, see her entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography:   https://www.dib.ie/biography/gibson-violet-albina-a10139

Siobhán Lynam’s documentary is on the RTÉ website at https://www.rte.ie/radio/doconone/2014/0612/647669-documentary-irishwoman-shot-mussolini-violet-gibson/

ffrench-Mullen, Madeleine

Photograph of Dublin City Council Commemorative Plaque honouring Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrench-Mullen.

This plaque commemorates both Madeleine ffrench-Mullen and her lifelong partner Dr Kathleen Lynn, who founded Teach Ultan (St Ultan’s Infants Hospital) at 37 Charlemont Street, Dublin 2.

Teach Ultan is now part of the Clayton Hotel, who kindly agreed to allow the plaque be erected.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

Born in Malta in 1880, Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen grew up in Dundrum, County Dublin. Having lived abroad for a few years she returned to Dublin in 1913 and worked in soup kitchens during the Lockout. She joined the Irish Citizen Army where she met her lifelong companion, Kathleen Lynn.

After the Rising she was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, alongside Countess Markievicz.

Responding to the appalling rate of infant mortality in the city, Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen and Dr Lynn established St Ultan’s Infant Hospital at 37 Charlemont Street in April 1919. Ireland’s first paediatric hospital, it operated until 1984. Madelaine Ffrench-Mullen served as its secretary until her death in 1944.

You can read more about Dr Kathleen Lynn in her entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

For more information on St Ultan’s Infant Hospital, see Maeve Casserly’s article in History on Your Doorstep, volume 2, published by Dublin City Council.

The plaque was proposed by the 1916 Relatives Association, and it was unveiled by Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland, on 19th June, 2022.

Lynn, Dr Kathleen

Photograph of Dublin City Council Commemorative Plaque honouring Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrench-Mullen.

This plaque commemorates both Dr Kathleen Lynn and her lifelong partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen, who founded Teach Ultan (St Ultan’s Infants Hospital) at 37 Charlemont Street, Dublin 2.

Teach Ultan is now part of the Clayton Hotel, who kindly agreed to allow the plaque be erected.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

A native of Mayo, Kathleen Lynn (1874-1955) was educated at the medical school in Cecelia Street, and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1909. A nationalist and a suffragist, who worked in food kitchens during the 1913 Lockout, she joined the Irish Citizen Army, serving as its Medical Officer, and tending the wounded in the 1916 Rising.

Imprisoned after the Rising, and again in 1918, her release was secured by Lord Mayor Laurence O’Neill so that she could tend to the sick during the Spanish Flu epidemic. She set up a GP practice from her home at 9 Belgrove Road, Rathmines, where she lived until her death in 1955.

Responding to the appalling rate of infant mortality in the city, Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen and Dr Lynn established St Ultan’s Infant Hospital at 37 Charlemont Street in April 1919. Ireland’s first paediatric hospital, it operated until 1984.

You can read more about Dr Kathleen Lynn in her entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

For more information on St Ultan’s Infant Hospital, see Maeve Casserly’s article in History on Your Doorstep, volume 2, published by Dublin City Council.

The plaque was proposed by the 1916 Relatives Association, and it was unveiled by Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland, on 19th June, 2022.

Wilde, Lady Jane ‘Speranza’

Photograph of a Dublin City Council commemorative plaque to Jane Lady Wilde 'Speranza'.

This plaque commemorates Jane Wilde, poet, feminist, and nationalist.

Born in 1821, Jane Wilde was a polyglot who translated works from German and French. Inspired by Thomas Davis and the Young Ireland movement, she became a nationalist and from 1846 contributed to their journal The Nation, writing under the pen names Speranza and John Fanshawe Ellis.

Among her poems in the Nation was ‘The Famine Year’, her response to the Great Famine, in which she criticised her own Anglo-Irish landlord class.

In 1848, her piece ‘Jacta Alea Est’ (‘the die is cast’) was seen by the authorities as so inflammatory that it led to the suppression of the Nation.

Living at 1 Merrion Square, Dublin, her weekly literary salons put her at the centre of Dublin’s cultural life. She continued her salons in London, where she lived following the death of her husband, Sir William Wilde, in 1876.

An advocate for women’s rights, she campaigned for greater access to education for women.

The woman of the future will never again be the mere idol of a vain worship, the petted toy of a passing hour; She takes her place now in the world on higher grounds than physical beauty, and will gain nobler triumphs…

Lady Wilde, Social Studies (London, 1893), pp 94-5.

Proposed by the American College Dublin, the plaque joins existing ones which commemorate her husband , Sir William Wilde, and her son, Oscar, on the house where she lived until 1876.

The plaque was unveiled by Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland on 19th November 2021.

Parnell, Anna – founder of the Ladies’ Land League

Photograph of a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating Anna Parnell

This plaque commemorates Anna Parnell, feminist, activist, and founder of the Ladies’ Land League, at the offices of the Leaguea t 37/38 O’Connell Street Upper, now AIB Bank.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

A feminist and a radical, Anna Parnell was born at the family estate in Avondale, Wicklow, in 1852. The younger sister of Home Rule leader Charles Stewart Parnell, she became organising secretary of the Ladies’ Land League in 1881. Over 500 branches of the ladies Land League were founded, and with the banning of the Irish National Land League in October 1881, Anna Parnell and her female colleagues led the ‘No-Rent’ campaign. Anna travelled around the country, encouraging women to organise independently of men to resist unjust rents.

The Kilmainham Treaty led to the ending of the ‘No-Rent’ campaign, and Charles Stewart Parnell and the National Land League leadership put pressure on Anna and her colleagues to take on a purely charitable role. Anna resisted this and following the dissolution of the Ladies Land League in August 1882, she never spoke to her brother again.

Anna Parnell spent her final years living under a pseudonym in Devon, England, were she died in a drowning accident on 20th September 1911, at the age of 59.

The plaque was unveiled on 20th September 2021 by Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland.

Keogh, Margaret – Cumann na mBan

Photograph of commemorative plaque for Margaret Keogh, in Ringsend, Dublin 4.

This plaque commemorates Margaret Keogh, one of two Cumann na mBan members to die in the fight for Irish freedom.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

The nineteen year-old printer’s assistant was shot at her home in Stella Gardens, Ringsend, Dublin, on Saturday 10th July 1921, during a series of raids by Crown forces. She died of her wounds two days later and was buried with military honours in Glasnevin.

The plaque was unveiled by Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland on 11th July, 2021, having been proposed by a group of local residents.

As well as being an active member of Cumann na mBan, Margaret Keogh was a member of the Irish Clerical Workers Union, and was the captain of the Croke Ladies Hurling Club. She had been due to play a match in Howth the day after she was shot. 

Speaking at the unveiling of the plaque on Fitzwilliam Quay, Ringsend, Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland said:  

‘Margaret Keogh was a young women who played an active part in the political, trade union, and sporting Dublin and her community. Only one of the many women who played a significant role in the struggle for Irish freedom, Margaret was one of the very few who paid the ultimate price. I congratulate the local community for proposing this plaque, and I’m honoured and delighted to unveil this Dublin City Council plaque on the street where Margaret Keogh lived.’ 

Markievicz, Countess

commemorative plaque honouring Countess Markievicz.

This plaque commemorates republican and labour activist Constance Countess Markievicz at Surrey House, Leinster Road, Rathmines, where she and her family lived from 1911. The house became a centre for republican and labour activity and was looted by British forces in the aftermath of the Rising.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

Read Countess Markievicz’s biography in the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

The plaque was unveiled on 15th July 2019.

Murdoch, Iris – philosopher & writer

photograph of commemorative plaque honouring Iris Murdoch.

This plaque honours philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch, who was born on Blessington Street, Dublin, on 15 July 1919.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

This plaque is located temporarily in the Blessington Basin and will be erected at 59 Blessingotn Street in due course.

Read Iris Murdoch’s biography from the Dictionary of Irish Biography

The plaque was unveiled on 11th July 2019, to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth.

Skeffington, Hanna Sheehy

commemorative plaque honouring Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, suffragette

This plaque at Dublin Castle, Ship Street, commemorates suffragette Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, who smashed windows at the Castle in the campaign for women’s suffrage.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

Read Hanna Sheehy Skeffington’s biography in the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

The plaque was unveiled by President Michael D. Higgins on 13th June 2018.